Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
An Episode
 
John Addington Symonds (1840–93)
 
 
VASARI tells that Luca Signorelli,
The morning star of Michael Angelo,
Had but one son, a youth of seventeen summers,
Who died. That day the master at his easel
Wielded the liberal brush wherewith he painted        5
At Orvieto, on the Duomo’s walls,
Stern forms of Death and Heaven and Hell and Judgment.
Then came they to him, and cried: “Thy son is dead,
Slain in a duel; but the bloom of life
Yet lingers round red lips and downy cheek.”        10
Luca spoke not, but listen’d. Next they bore
His dead son to the silent painting-room,
And left on tiptoe son and sire alone.
Still Luca spoke and groan’d not; but he rais’d
The wonderful dead youth, and smooth’d his hair,        15
Wash’d his red wounds, and laid him on a bed,
Naked and beautiful, where rosy curtains
Shed a soft glimmer of uncertain splendor
Life-like upon the marble limbs below.
Then Luca seiz’d his palette: hour by hour        20
Silence was in the room; none durst approach:
Morn wore to noon, and noon to eve, when shyly
A little maid peep’d in, and saw the painter
Painting his dead son with unerring hand-stroke,
Firm and dry-ey’d before the lordly canvas.        25
 

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